Nothing in this world can be said to be certain other than taxes, death, and dickheaded Byron Bay residents. However, in a good news story for anyone that’s had enough of the hippies, the Byron surf community has been told to keep its boards under control… or else.
You might think we’re throwing some unwarranted shade on the residents of Australia’s celebrity hotspot and national millionaire’s playground, but rest assured we’ve done our research: we met more a**holes there in two days than we did in two years elsewhere, so we feel justified in taking this tone…
And, more importantly, in celebrating a minor victory over the Byron beach-bros: after a string of injuries caused by unruly surfboards, the city council has decided to crack down and legislate for correct board-based behaviour…
Byron Shire councillor Cate Coorey announced today she is proposing a new regulation that would require surfers to wear a leg rope by law, with a fine of up to $1,100 for those who fail to comply.
Coorey plans to present the motion at the upcoming council meeting and believes the Local Government Act can be used to enforce the regulation.
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To ensure people play ball, Coorey suggests having signage at beach entrances and appointing compliance officers who will be on the alert for unshackled board use. She notes that the council already has officers and rangers who monitor beaches and parks, so this could be added to their list of duties pretty easily…
The proposal comes hot on the heels of a recent incident where local surfer Matt Cassidy suffered a serious arm injury after being hit by a loose longboard at Wategos Beach. Coorey argues that such accidents are not isolated incidents and that mandatory leg ropes could prevent potentially fatal accidents.
However, Neil Camero, President of the Byron Bay Boardriders Club, is sceptical about surfers complying with the new regulation:
“I totally respect that they’re trying to protect people, but I think it comes down to the individual,” he said. Surfers have always been rebellious and they’ll continue to be rebellious. I see people paddle out without leg ropes and, to be honest, a lot of them are good surfers and don’t lose their boards.”Neil Camero
Camero also went on to point out that leg ropes alone don’t rule out the possibility of an accident: “You’ve got a nine-foot board and a nine-foot leg rope — there’s 18 feet between you and contact with someone else,” which, true enough, is enough room for an accident to occur.
Mike Duff, on the other hand, is a surfer from Wilsons Creek who supports the council’s plans, noting that “If you watch the best surfers in the world, and they’re surfing in Australia at the moment, they all wear leg ropes.” If it’s good enough for them, surely it’s good enough for your basic Byronista?
He went on to add that when surfing on a nine-foot board, the board can become like a missile, making it difficult to hold onto in bigger waves.
The proposal will be debated at the council meeting on Thursday, but it remains to be seen if the regulation will be passed and how it will be enforced.
We’re always happy to see Byron locals get a long-overdue slap on the wrist, but big questions remain about how much good this law would actually do and, more importantly, how it would be enforced.
Maybe they could tempt Zac Efron back to the bay by offering him a Baywatch-style surf sleuth job? I’d offer to take on the role myself, but I’ve got a feeling he’d wear the skimpy red shorts a little better.